Frustrated With Flash Backs - Sleeping With A Knife

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Pitt Bull

I have vent out some of my frustrations before I have a relaps and end up being hospitalized. For the past week I have been sleeping with a knife in my bed. I did this when I was a teenager hopeing to stab myself in my sleep. Now I am doing to protect myself from the nightmares. Since I started doing this I have slept through the night. I am afraid to tell my wife that I am doing this because it doesn't make sense that doing this is giving me comfort. I know that dreams can not hurt you but these flashbacks are so real. I wish that I could die so I do not have to live through the pain. I have four kids and wife so I have more than my share to live for (17,10,8,3 years old). Has anyone ever done things to comfort themselves that anyone who was normal may consider it strange? I have my weekly meeting with my therapist this week and I will tell him about the knife if I make it that long.

I have started disassociating again to the point where I wake up in different parts of the house holding the knife. I keep thinking I see the attacker but I get to realty before anything happens. My attacker has been dead for about 10 years so I know he is not going to hurt me again but he lives in my mind daily. Everyone tells me to move past this but for some reason I can't. I would give anything to be back to the way I was 5 months ago when I had my melt down. At least then I was not having any flash backs but I was disassociating on a daily basis. I do not know which is worst but not having flash backs would be great.

Sorry for the confusion in my post it is hard to type out what I am feeling and keep things on one subject. I do not want to commit suicide but I feel this would make things better for everyone. I am close to loosing my wife because I have distance myself from all the people who care about me. She has read a couple of postings I have found and asked if this sounds like us and she thought they didd. She has a good firm foundation that has helped me get through things but now we are hung up were I am pushing her farther away. She has told me that I have mentally abuse her and I can see that when I look back at our time together. I look at it as I have abused her (mentally) to make myself better, and I have done the same thing to my oldest. I see myself pulling everyone in when things are going good and pushing away as soon as anything goes wrong.:dontknow: I have threatened her that if she left that I would not be in this world to have anyone kick me around. I cheated on her and she is still here with me but htings are getting harder and harder as I don't act like I am cured. I know I am never going to be cured but functioning would be a great improvement. I do have a full time job and she works early morning hours delivering news papers. So I am the bread winner in the family and I am having issues at work that scare me. I feel like I can not work like I use to. Every thing is a challenge and I use to do things on insticnt. One co-worker suggested disability. I wish I could but we would lose the house and that would not be a good thing.

I have too many things running in my head at this point so I am going to shut up now.

Let it all out,
I find racing thoughts have a way to quiet down after writing them down.

Your family needs you,
and you need your family.
It's a bit step aknowledging how you have pushed your spouse away.

My thoughts are with you,
Take care of yourself,
Pitt Bull said:
Problem: For the past week I have been sleeping with a knife in my bed. Now I am doing to protect myself from the nightmares.

Reality: I know that dreams can not hurt you but these flashbacks are so real. My attacker has been dead for about 10 years so I know he is not going to hurt me again but he lives in my mind daily.

Ok Kevin, you are stateing your problem, then answering your problem with the reality of the situation. This means that you are aware of your actions, thus you are mentally aware how to fix them.

When people say "get over it", it is a short phrase that to me means, you need to work through your issues. You are working through your issues and concerns, because you have the realistic solution to your problems. So... why can't you start to action your own solutions? Applying techniques and solutions is a matter of will, mind over matter, and having to retrain yourself progressively in small steps. This is where I expect you are a little stuck, in that you can't just stop this and then do this, even though we know it, PTSD hinders our progress to achieve it.

So, lets start with the knife. You cognitively understand that your attacker is dead, and cannot hurt you, though you also have the dreams and flashbacks within your mind, thus your mind is making things real for you. The flashbacks and dreams are part of your trauma, so trying to tackle them is not the solution, you must tackle your trauma to rid the flashbacks and dreams, which you are doing in therapy.

The knife is an issue, because if you have a flashback, you need to understand that you could end up stabbing your wife within your flashback, thus with our without PTSD, your going to end up in jail and no longer be able to see your children, the very things you live for. So lets give a reason that by getting rid of the knife from your bed is for your children, because we know the attacker is dead and only lives in your mind. You mind cannot hurt you, only your actions can do the damage.

If you are sleeping with the knife in your bed and wakeing up around the house with knife in hand, we need to remove the knife to a safe place. I would suggest replacing the knife even, with something less threatening that gives you security and strength within yourself, ie. a picture of your children maybe! I would speak with your counsellor about the knife, and not leave that out of your next session, before someone ends up dead or injured.

Kevin, the simple facts at present, is that you need to start educating yourself on thinking styles, relationship behaviours and breaking cycles. Because they are this way, it doesn't mean change isn't a better option. It does not make you weak to admit your wrong. It does not make you weak to say sorry. These are very small but powerful things within a relationship. We males already have the dominance genetics and peer group pressures when with other males. Saying no, saying sorry, saying your wrong is a sign of strength, not weakness.
Kevin, I understand where you are coming from. I relate a lot to what you are going through mentally, even though I was never directly attacked or had to kill anyone to protect myself. I usually sleep with a pistol under my pillow or near by within easy reach 'cause I'm paranoid. There have been plenty of times where I’m up, in the middle of the night while everyone is asleep, and I’m wandering throughout my house with gun ready to fire.
I unintentionally put my wife and kids through a lot of shit too, and I get to feeling very guilty about it and how they would be so much better off.
At this time I really am not well enough myself to give any really helpful advice 'cause if anything I should follow it, but I can tell you that (while apprehensive at first) I have really found an 'outlet' by posting here. And yes, it’s painful a lot of times because it brings up emotions/memories that I'd rather forget. I guess that is one of the reasons why I can be such a mean sob, because I sometimes feel like a mentally-tortured/conflicted bastard. Nonetheless, this forum has a lot of great people here who are so supportive, nonjudgmental, and caring… they are awesome! So look at finding this place as a step in the right direction to live as I am starting to find. Here are some things I found helpful:
"This forum cookie is a result of my suffering, my pain, my anxiety, depression, guilt and every other symptom I have had (which is every single one), because I refused to let what you are now suffering beat me. I refused to take the easy option, I refused to not let this be known to others who I could one day help get past this crap themselves." -written by Anthony
See (copy and paste) this website:

I want to read more from you since I can relate, so check back in... and thanks for posting/sharing your thoughts so we don't feel so alone at times.
Mac, I think you and me need to chat about this gun thing mate. I used to keep a machete beside me also, but have seen the light. You need to get past this gun bit mate, and allow your wife and kids than knowing and feeling of safety, safety that doesn't come from what you feel being in control of a pistol within your house.

I'm with Anthony on the pistol thing. It's kind of a double edged sword that you have the skills to use the damn thing. I suggest that there is more potential to get yourself into real trouble or do yourself harm with that thing around. Scary as it is, it would be best got rid of or at the very least put in a very lockable gun safe seperate from the ammo. Therefore requiring you to at least have a thought process about using the weapon rather than instinct. Your instinct is no doubt finely tuned courtesy of military training and now highly strung due to PTSD. I am not convinced that a pistol is a good idea.

If its any consolation, Anthony and I have had this discussion before as I wanted to purchase a pistol to use for recreational shooting down the track. Anthony is happy for me to have one but has made it clear that it will have to remain at any gun club or in the armoury at work. It will not be allowed in the house despite the fact that we have quite strict laws about ownership, licensing and storage of personal weapons. I never really saw it as a threat but I am beginning to have a new appreciation of where he is coming from after reading many posts on this forum.
Hi All

Anthony and Kerrie Ann have said most of what I would...the only other thing I would add, is for you to also consider that in changing these behaviours the difference it may make to your father moved guns into my home as a child, he also had issues and it made me frightened as a child. Pls talk to someone. If a picture won't do, a toy representaion might help (as an immediate temporary solution).

I do understand the hideous nightmares and insecurity. After I was assaulted/shot at/burgled while at home (over about three months) I felt quite insecure too. However, because I grew up in a home with weapons I do not percieve any comfort from them being around me, quite the opposite. I did have the nightmares as you do, and even woke up beating up my bed in my sleep. Please be aware of this, imagine what could happen without you actually being aware of it to the people you love and support you through this. There is no way you should have weapons around you, for your own safety and that of your family, as well as their general well being and security and peace of mind. I was too frightened to discuss what was happening with the guns in my home and why they moved around, why bullets were placed somewhere, then moved again. My father seemed to be unaware of that I was doing this and how much it was hurting me emotionally. He does know now, and I am sure, privately, he regrets his actions. If you are struggling to do this for yourselves, please also think about the others around you. You know you don't want to use weapons, so it is effectively a placebo, if you must have one temporarily, consider a fake one.

Something that helped me was writing down my flashbacks and nightmares, and then recognising that was all they were. When I do have them now, they begin to feel like a movie sequel, whose plotline I have seen a hundred times already. I get angry at myself for having the nightmare momentarily. It seems to have helped me reduce their impact and they now occur less and less frequently (fingers crossed), with less of a response when I wake up. Everyone's experience is different, and I in no way want to compare my experience to being in a daily war situation. I can imagine how things are for you, but the focus on the sentence is imagine. I wish you all the best.
And I will add something here that I have said once before here I think, but no doubt very buried within older posts. When I hadn't dealt with my trauma and I had flashbacks and nightmares often, I would be so restless within my sleep, that kerrie-ann had to move to one side and kick my feet to try and wake me, because she knew if she got anything else, I was up and swinging before even being awake. Instinct come first, reality then hit second. Too late if I had a knife under my pillow instead of beside the bed in a sheath that had to be unclipped first to disengage the machete.

Once or twice, I had actually pretty much assaulted her in my sleep from dreams with my fists, let alone if I had a gun or knife under my pillow. If I had a weapon under my pillow or slept with one in my hand, she would be dead now. No second chances people with your loved one's lives.

If your keeping weapons in the house unsecured or sleeping with them, there are more effective ways in which to feel secure without weapons, without having your loved ones and children fearing for their lives in the back of their heads constantly, thus creating a whole new range of issues for them when adults, and you can see the point. Get rid of the weapons before its too late for you.
Last night I left the knife in the Kitchen. Even though I was awake three different times during the night I left the knife alone. I slept through the night with the knife but woke up in different rooms in the past. I had a real bad dream that I woke up wanting to fight my attacker. I had to walk through the house to make sure he was not there. I am proud to say that I did this with out a knife. I will continue to leave the knife in the kitchen at night so maybe I can move past this problem.
That's awesome, Kevin. So courageous of you. Continue on and this "problem" will be snuffed out. Get your security back.
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